CPS worker struck by bottle thrown by Principal Kurt Jones was cleared to return to Franklin Fine Arts within days: testimony

A Chicago Public Schools worker who was injured when her school’s principal threw a water bottle at her last year allegedly told a physician assistant who treated her that former Principal Kurt Jones was “playing around” and that she didn’t think he intended to hurt her, according to testimony at Jones’ bench trial Thursday.

Ivy Poma, who treated Franklin Fine Arts Cafeteria Manager Faye Jenkins for the cut to her forehead, said she closed the wound with skin glue and told Jenkins to take ibuprofen and acetaminophen — generic names for Advil and Tylenol — for pain.

Poma was working at Physicians Immediate Care clinic on March 20, 2020 when Jenkins came in for treatment after Jones threw the bottle at her earlier that day during a game of “dodgeball” he was playing with several other workers during a lunch break at the school shortly after it was closed to student during the coronavirus pandemic.

During the game, which Jenkins has said she repeatedly told Jones she didn’t want to play, he followed her into her office and first threw a child’s shoe at her and then a pink, hard plastic water bottle, which struck her above the eye.

Jones was charged later that summer with counts of aggravated battery in the incident and resigned from his position.

Jenkins previously told the Sun-Times the impact from the bottle caused her head to bleed and gave her a concussion.

“I was hollering and screaming,” Jenkins testified in July. “I was just numb. The hit was tremendously hard.”

Poma said an X-ray of Jenkins’ head did not show any fractures and she was cleared to return to work after the weekend.

During a cross examination, Cook County prosecutors asked Poma if Jenkins also told her that she had told Jones to stop. Poma said Jenkins had said that and added that Jenkins told her “the principal always pushes her too far.”

Former Chicago Public Schools principal Kurt Jones outside the Leighton Criminal Courthouse during his bench trial July 20.

Former Chicago Public Schools principal Kurt Jones outside the Leighton Criminal Courthouse during his bench trial July 20.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Brenda Hillie, a custodian at the school, testified last month that it was Jenkins who initially suggested playing the game of dodgeball — which other witnesses denied.

A Chicago Public School investigator assigned to the case said Thursday that Hillie only told them “someone” had suggested the game of dodgeball and had not previously mentioned Jenkins as the alleged instigator of the game.

Hillie has accused Jenkins of bullying her relentlessly after for maintaining the incident was only an accident.

Jones’ defense attorney James McKay also tore into the Chicago Police Detective Juan Gonzalez, who was assigned to the case and ultimately sought charges against Jones.

McKay accused Gonzalez of not doing a thorough investigation after Gonzalez admitted he never went inside the school himself when he was assigned the case about two weeks after the incident and said he didn’t interview several people at the school that day.

Gonzalez said it was summer and he was “inundated with cases.”

The other people at the school had not actually witnessed Jones follow Jenkins into her office and throw the water bottle, so he didn’t feel the need to interview them, he said.

Judge Angela Petrone continued the case to Oct. 1 for closing arguments.

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